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Power Suit Exhibit with Spectators

Power Suit Art Quilt Debut

Saturday, October 22, 2011 was a big day. We unveiled Power Suits: An Art Quilt Challenge at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, to a bustling space filled with artists, family members, friends, and newcomers to the art quilt world.

About the Exhibit

When Judy Gula and I issued this art quilt challenge in April, we could not have predicted the number, variety, or quality of quilts that were sent to us. Every day was Christmas as we opened boxes and registered the 18″ x 18″ treasures! 105 artists responded with 108 quilts, addressing topics as varied and unexpected as playing cards, super heroes, swim suits, ancestors, robots, politics, and animals. And there were, of course, quilts that focused on men’s suits and women’s equivalents to the power suit wardrobe. As our guests moved from quilt to quilt, reading artist’s statements and reacting the artwork, I repeatedly heard comments like, “How did they do that?” and “I would never have thought of that!” Surprisingly, while some topics were addressed by multiple artists, each quilt was unique.

Power in Any Suit by Marilyn Owendoff

Quilts will remain on exhibit at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, through November 23, 2011. They are available for viewing during shop hours or by special appointment.

Viewers’ Choice

Judy and I agreed to put out ballots for Viewers’ Choice Awards, not to judge the quality of the quilts but to celebrate the reactions the quilts evoked. Thanks to my hubby for that idea. We found that people (read: people who are not quilters but came anyway) seemed more engaged in really looking at the quilts. I loved watching the discussions!
 
The Viewer’s Choice Made Me Laugh Award went to Marilyn Owendoff for her quilt Power in Any Suit. I watched as people led their friends over to see Marilyn’s quilt. It certainly had lots of people smiling as the bikini-clad body on the quilt clutched her smart phone while enjoying the rays on the beach.
Ellen Flaherty's Quilt

The Real Power Suits by Ellen Flaherty

The Viewers’ Choice Made Me Think Award went to Ellie Flaherty for her quilt The Real Power Suits. The quilt featured three nuns made in the image of her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. I love the play on words: The Real Higher Power Suit.

The Viewers’ Choice Hands-Down Favorite Award went to, well, me! I created a quilt called Power Suited Him from a portrait of my father. This image of my father has been a favorite of mine and I loved using it for our Power Suit Challenge logo. I tried to develop a different idea for my challenge quilt, but I kept coming back to my father’s picture. I’ll try to blog a little about process later. In response to requests for a class in this technique, I will offer a Studio Tech class in photo-inspired art quilts at Artistic Artifacts in the coming year.  

Cyndi Souder's Quilt

Power Suited Him by Cyndi Zacheis Souder

Exhibit Travel and the Power Suit CD
I’m thrilled to say that our quilts are scheduled to travel! We currently have two quilt shows on our calendar and we are looking for more opportunities to share these treasures with more quilters. If you are interested in showing our quilts, please contact me. We’d love to hear from you!

Look for Power Suit Quilts at these shows:

We’ve created a Power Suit Quilts CD that includes the quilt images and artist’s statements. We’ve included two formats on the CD: a PowerPoint presentation that requires PowerPoint on your machine to view and a PDF that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download that comes loaded on most machines) to view. These will be available at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, at the Artistic Artifacts booth at the IQA Festival in Houston, TX November 3-6, 2011, and on the Artistic Artifacts website after the second week in November.

Next Challenge
While we had a captive audience, Judy and I announced our next challenge: Arts & Old Lace!

Arts & Old Lace LogoUnlike the Power Suit Challenge, we’ve limited the number of packets we’re distributing. After the feeding frenzy at the debut, we continued to receive calls for the packets. We’re taking whatever we have left to the IQA Festival in Houston, where I believe they will disappear in a flash. More about the next challenge in a future blog. For now, thanks for following our Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge. We’ve had an unbelievable amount of fun and we hope you have, too!

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Power Suit Challenge LogoHave you ever walked a quilt show, seen challenge quilts, and wondered how you could get in on the fun? Wonder no more! This is your official invitation to participate in Power Suits: An Art Quilt Challenge.

A few months ago, I received a call from a local tailor asking if I would like his outdated fabric swatches. When I said yes, I had no idea how many swatches he had! Let’s just say it’s a good thing we had a truck when we went to pick them up.

Initially, I wanted to share these treasures with my art quilt students. Once I saw the boxes (and boxes and boxes), I knew this was bigger than my classes. And so I teamed up with Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts to offer you this art quilt challenge.

Pallet of Boxes

Boxes of Swatch Books

Theme
What does “Power Suit” mean to you? Does it conjure images of smoke-filled rooms where deals are made? Is a Power Suit a garment or a person? Do you plug in a Power Suit? What if a Power Suit gave you Super Powers? Using Power Suits as your inspiration, create an art quilt that expresses your point of view.

Rules
1. Finished quilt size: 18” x 18”

2. The finished quilt must have a top, a middle, and a backing with some method of connecting the three layers.

3. The finished quilt must be labeled and have a hanging sleeve.

4. There may be no internal or external structure, rods, or hangers.

5. Just have fun.

Challenge Packet in Bag

Challenge Packet

Dates

August 31, 2011: Quilts are due. Ship to Artistic Artifacts, 4750 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304

Oct 22, 2011: Debut, Artistic Artifacts

Jan 2, 2012: Quilts shipped home

Questions
E-Mail: Cyndi@MoonlightingQuilts.com
Call: 703.407.0916

The Fine Print
You are responsible for providing your own insurance from the time the quilt leaves your hands to the time you get it back. We reserve the right to refuse quilts that we feel are inappropriate for the exhibition.

How to Participate
Ready to get started? Great!

To participate, you’ll need a packet of swatches. Your swatches will include suit fabric and shirting. To round things out, we’ve thrown in a tie and some random buttons. You may use all, some, or none of the materials we are giving you. The idea is to embrace the theme and express your opinions. What does “Power Suit” mean to you?

You can get your challenge packet from Artistic Artifacts or directly from me (if you’re local). If you plan to pick up your packet at Artistic Artifacts, visit their website for hours. If you’d rather receive your materials in the mail, click here to order your packet from Artistic Artifacts. If you order the packet alone, then a $5 shipping charge will apply. If your order includes other items, then you pay shipping only for the other items and Artistic Artifacts will throw in the swatch packet for free. If you have trouble, you can also order the packet through my website.

  
Contents of Challenge Packets
Challenge Packet – Contents Will Vary

Judy and I hope you will join us in the fun. Sign up now and get started!

Cyndi

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Block 6

Vintage Revisited Challenge: Block 6

I still don’t particularly like to do vintage, but I have one more block to use before I’m finished the Mary Kerr’s Vintage Revisited Challenge. Each block is more “challenging” than the one before it and this one…well, this one’s a real doozy! In this case, I think there are real and compelling reasons why this quilt was never finished.

What should I do for this sixth and final quilt in the challenge? That begs a bigger question: where does the inspiration come from?

Sometimes a quilt challenge will immediately inspire ideas. The colors, the subject matter, the size of the materials or the textures — something will spark an idea that can be fanned into a concept, a sketch, a plan. Um, not this one.  

I’m a word person, and so sometimes I rely on words to lead me to a visual idea. “Grandma’s Flower Garden” did nothing for me, although my grandmother did have lots of flowers on her farm. I’m not really a floral quilt person.

For this challenge, three of the quilts are sort of in a series with letters, correspondence, and old-fashioned pens being the common thread. This block didn’t seem to fit with that either. Three of the quilts also have metal embellishments, but that seemed sort of out of place with this block.

Hubby & His Bike

Hubby & his Bike

As a final resort, I looked through my design journal and photographs looking for inspiration.  And there it was: a picture of my husband on a Boy Scout bicycle trip (as a volunteer, not a Scout) fiddling with his front tire.  I’m not sure what it is about this photo that so captivates me, but there it is. I think the orange hat, the greenery in the background, the preponderance of rounded shapes all connect this image to that poor, tattered quilt fragment.

The real challenge here is to see if I can find a way to make those sad little hexagons resemble the photo of my husband. I reserve the right to change my mind if (1) this doesn’t work, (2) I find a better idea, or (3) time requires that I take a more expedient route. Stay tuned for progress reports. And I’d love to have your ideas and comments.
To see the first five of my Vintage Revisited quilts, check out my website homepage: www.MoonlightingQuilts.com. For more information about the Vintage Revisited Challenge, including its travel schedule, visit www.MaryWKerr.com.

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I keep saying that I don’t do vintage, but I just finished my (very late) fifth entry in Mary Kerr’s Vintage Revisited challenge. Mary is a talented quilt appraiser and artist who specializes in vintage materials. For this challenge, she gathered a group of 19 quilters who were willing to work with vintage blocks on and off for two years. I didn’t do this for the vintage; I agreed to participate because I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

Vintage Revisited Block 5

Vintage Revisited Block 5

Did I mention fun? Well, here’s the fifth block in this six block challenge. Okay, get ready to play along. Here are the rules:

  • You must use at least some of the fabric. (There’s some disagreement in the ranks on this as some of the quilters believe you must use ALL of the fabric!)
  • You can do anything you want to the fabric: paint, dye, stamp (I love to stamp!), whatever.
  • The finished piece must be 24 inches square.
  • The subject matter of your piece is up to you; it doesn’t need to relate to anything vintage.

And so what do you do with this? Okay, I know that some of you might actually like this poor, faded, malpieced block, but once you get past feeling sorry for it, what do you do?

Circling the Drain
Circling the Drain

The first thing I always do is free the fabric from the block.  That’s right, I rip the pieces apart and assess the fabric I have to work with. In this case, the fabric was weak and faded. Okay, I guess I would be too, if I were this old!

Once I have just fabric, I can begin to look for a vision. I fill my head with as many ideas as I can about fabrics that coordinate, bits and pieces I can add for embellishment, and techniques that might work well. The fabric was weak, and so I knew I needed to fuse it to give it added strength. The fabric was unevenly faded, and so I stamped it to make it appear more consistent.
And now for a vision. Well, this vision didn’t come as quickly as I had hoped.  When the time came to give Mary a title, I had nothing. I felt like my ideas were all dead ends — going nowhere — and so I named the formless quilt: Circling the Drain. Now I was locked into using that image somehow. Then Mary called for artist’s statements.  Still no quilt. And so I wrote a statement that I hoped would be general enough to work with whatever I wound up making but specific enough to be worth reading. You be the judge when you see these quilts in person.

 

Some of the other quilts I made for this challenge dealt with letters and writing, and so I pulled out some commercial cotton with postage stamps on it and some pen nibs that Judy Gula of ArtisticArtifacts.com found for me. The rest is just what happens when you block out enough time in your studio and put some great music on your iPod.

 

So where’s the fabric from the original block? I took the brown, the blue, and the pink polka dot, added fusible to the back, stamped it all with travel-related images in black ink, and fused it all down. I added the pen nibs to the center.

I have a killer idea for the final block. My concern now is whether my skills can make what my brain can imagine. Stay tuned. I’ll blog this block in progress.

Read more about Vintage Revisited, including the exhibit’s travel schedule, on Mary’s website: www.MaryWKerr.com.

See the other treasures Judy Gula stocks on: www.ArtisticArtifacts.com. If you are local to northern Virginia, check out her bricks-and-mortar store in Alexandria.

 

Thanks to Kathy Lincoln (www.KathyLincoln.com) for providing the picture of the block intact. I ripped mine apart too quickly for a photo.

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It’s been a while since the Annex has opened, and I’ve finally figured out how to get images into my posts.  Now, if I could just figure out the formatting.  Anyway, on to the pictures!

Design Wall at the AnnexThis first image captures the design wall at the Annex with four remarkable art quilts.  The top left and bottom right quilts are by Stacey Northrup. The quilt on the top right is by Kate Kane and the bottom left is by Catherine Armstrong.  

Pat Hildebrand and Karla VernonTwo more quilts!  The one on the left is by Pat Hildebrand and the one on the right is by Karla Vernon.  Did you notice that the design wall is covered with black felt instead of the typical white felt?  If you are planning to enter your quilts into shows, use black on your design wall.  Then, you’ll be able to design your quilt on the same color background as most shows use.

Quilts by Mary Ellen Simmons and Mary Ann ShepardThese quilts are by Mary Ellen Simmons and Mary Ann Shepard.  Mary Ellen’s quilt (on the left) was done in response to a challenge I issued.  My husband took the original photo during a trip to London.  These steps actually exist in South Kensington.  Yes, the milk bottles were right there in front of the door. The cat was Mary Ellen’s idea.

Stacey Northrup's TreesThis one’s by Stacey Northrup.  She began this quilt during a workshop I did for her guild.  What I love about this is that she took the “Trees” pattern from the workshop and made it her own.  I can’t wait to see the rest of her series!

Jane Brown's Color WheelThis color wheel is by Jane Brown.  She combined two different assignments to create this piece: a color wheel and an achromatic quilt.  Great combination.

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